Today would have been a prime day for me to get inebriated. What I do need to hold on to though is the word ‘would’. A word that in this sentence shows the past tense and let’s me know that whatever it is pertaining to is no longer occurring. Without going into all the ins and outs it was an emotionally charged day for the kids and myself full of scuppered plans, disappointments, frustrations and anger. Just before noon a battle of wills erupted between me and Angelina over an inanimate object. It was a small opaque water jug used for hair rinsing. I asked her to give it to me. She said no. I asked her to give it to me. She said no. I asked her to… Well I’m sure you get the idea. After what must have been at least the 30th time I snapped, she wailed, Max continued to fill in his World Cup wall chart and around 1pm the original Firth of Forth boat trip was off. Partly due to what had happened and partly due to weather. Then around 30 minutes later a tantrum by Max himself took place over the new cinema plan. He couldn’t possibly go to the 4.15 show but couldn’t manage to give me a reason why. I suspected it was football related as when that was mooted he became even angrier. Gotcha!!
Fed up at how my attempts to plan nice activities for the three of us resulted in such a way I took to myself to my room in the desperate hope of some quiet contemplation. Who was I trying to kid? Quiet contemplation? More like screaming into the pillow whilst clawing my own face off.
It was my bedroom door.
Knock knock again.
I lay still pleading for peace.
The door handle turned down once then moved back up.
It turned again and this time stayed down. The door began to slowly creak open and as it did began to reveal the sorrowful shape of Angelina standing like something out of a horror film. Toes turned in towards themselves, hair like it had been pulled through a hedge backwards hanging over her face allowing one eye to peer through the matted mess. Left thumb in mouth and right hand covering it and most of face.
The creature stood there making intermittent squawking noises.
What fresh hell was this?
She shuffled in with little Geisha like steps. Squawk. Shuffle. Squawk. Shuffle. Squawk.
She sidled up to me, proffering her apologies and begged for the three of us to go out somewhere. By this time it was almost 4 o’clock. Now I had two options here: Wallow in my disappointment or snap out of it and seize the remains of the day. I know only too well since a teenager that it is far easier for me to stay rooted in that morose emo place than to allow myself to let it go and leave it squashed in my tear stained dribbled on pillow. Sometimes it must be like two children and a young teenager living in the flat.
I looked up at her face covered with yoghurt splatters, then down to her tanned little hands that have the softest skin and I decided. I decided to relent. We both listened. We both apologised. We both hugged. Max came through and the three of us forgave each other and made “pinkie promises” to go out and have a nice time. I did start to lose the will to live at the prospect of deciding on what to do but then Angelina said, ‘ I know where we can go! Doctor Neil’s!’ Normally I would be delighted at the suggestion but my heart was full of apprehension at the idea of us being grumpy there but then she said, ‘ ‘ When someone is sad Doctor Neil’s always make them happy.’
So we went. We looked out for frogs. We played hide and seek. We explored. We ate our own body weight in Munchies and Tic Tacs. We saw a dragon fly. We threw money in the pond and made wishes. We stood under a big tree when it rained. We laughed.
Being an adult can be difficult. It’s a big responsibility. Sometimes finding your adult too soon means you lose the child in you too fast. Keeping my child self alive is more important than ever I realised today. I recall a first year workshop in drama school. The whole year were set a two hour improvisation for us all to be ourselves but as children. See what happened. Left to our own devices dens were built, friendships were made and lost, battles won, laughter rang out and fun was had. I found that session one of the hardest of the three years. Why? Because I strived to be an adult? To grow up too soon? Too eager to carry the burden of adulthood? To stand up to my Nana and for what I believed in? Perhaps but in doing that had I subconsciously suppressed the child in me so that when feeling cornered, scared, angry or hurt my default position is rigid, powerful and unforgiving. The child in me might help me to show the emotions that are hurting rather than hide them with defences. Could showing my vulnerability and truthful emotions be a strength and not weakness. Children live in the moment. They do not inhibit their gut feelings. If they want to throw a hissy fit on a bus they will. They don’t bottle it up and let it fester. Now I’m not suggesting all of us adults just resort to “toddlerdom” but surely discovering my child again could make me a more complete adult. What are we but children underneath all the angst, pressure, struggle and seriousness. I want to find the little girl in me. I want to have fun with her. I want to hear her laugh. I want her to just be.
Nighty night x
Ps 89 days